The recent events in Baltimore have given the media a chance to pick up right where they left off in Ferguson. They have wasted no time in doing that, but these riots have also given President Obama an opportunity to redeem himself from his poor showing during the aftermath of the Ferguson tragedy. He started off the day pretty well, denounced the violence but qualified it with his usual premise that the protestors had a right to be mad which was expected. However, it was too good to be true, he managed to slip in a completely unwarranted smear against Republicans that again calls into question his credibility on issues like this.
Obama couldn’t resist the temptation to blame Republicans for the problems in Baltimore. During his response he commented that he was, “under no illusion that under this Congress we’re going to get massive investments in urban communities.” The problem with this analysis is that Democrats have had their hands all over Baltimore politics for 50 years.
This statement might make sense to someone with no background on Baltimore politics or lacking the fundamental understanding of how the federal government works in general but to most people, this statement is completely detached from reality. First of all, it’s not the federal government’s job to make sure everything is running smoothly in Baltimore, it’s the state and local governments job. That job, has been in the hands of Democrats for the last 48 years, that’s the last time a Republican was mayor of the city. Almost five decades of Democrat leadership has gotten the city where it is today.
That’s not all. Democrat control isn’t restricted to the mayor’s office, it encompasses the entire city from the legislature to the unions to the governors office. Only two Republican governors in state history have served in Maryland and every single current member of the city council is a Democrat. How did President Obama do in the last election? Well, he won 87% of the vote in Baltimore.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MA) is already calling for more federal spending on “infrastructure”. What does that mean? The congressman claims this will provide “proper housing” to ensure residents feel “safe”. What difference would this increase in federal spending have made in this current situation? Likely none. The federal government has been pouring money into Baltimore for decades. Critics argue that federal funding in Baltimore went down by almost $1 billion in 2014 but fail to mention that A. Democrats are completely in charge of negotiating with the federal government on this issue and B. Sequestration, which many Democrats blame for the cuts, was President Obama’s idea.
While it might be a stretch to pin an event like this on one political party, that precedent has already been set by the President which makes it completely acceptable to bring facts into the debate. The city of Baltimore has been under Democrat control for over 50 years and has received plenty of federal aid. The underlying issues here, while serious, have nothing to do with Republicans in Washington and they certainly have nothing to with Republicans in Baltimore, because there aren’t any. Maybe the death of Freddie Gray will be the wake up call the city needs to finally allow another political perspective into the arena because the current one is clearly not working.